Hybrid Bass Mayhem on Lake Chatuge

By Darren Hughes

In July, fishing on Lake Chatuge, which borders western North Carolina and North Georgia, really gets fired up and I mean FIRED UP! With warmer water temps, the hybrids and bass school up, which means we are able to load the boat with tons of trophy hybrids and spotted bass.

Currently, Lake Chatuge is at full pool. Water temps are in the mid 80s, and water clarity is clear throughout the lake.

Hybrid fishing is explosive for us right now. The fish are schooling in large numbers, and we are catching some big quantities. We’re catching between 40 and 60 hybids and bass in just a couple of hours. Most of our hybrids are averaging 7-10 pounds. These are some of Lake Chatuge’s hardest-fighting fish, and we’re having a blast wearing them out. The early morning bite has been prime. Look for schools of fish off shallow humps along the main channel, clay banks, and off points. Downlining live blueback herring has been the best technique. Search out your areas and watch your electronics. When you mark fish, drop your lines. Fish will be slightly shallower in the early morning hours and will move to deeper water by mid-morning. Top-water bite remains very good as well. When these fish start busting on bait, it’s always a good idea to have a plug, spook, or red fin at the ready.

Spotted bass fishing remains excellent, too. We are still catching some huge spots throughout the day, and it’s not uncommon to put 30-40 of these feisty fish in the boat in one trip. Early morning top-water bite has been strong. Top-water plugs, spooks, and jerk baits have worked well. Our downline bite has also been very productive, especially in the mid-morning hours. Look for fish to be schooled up on shallow clay banks, humps, and off points. In terms of location, the upper end of the lake has been producing slightly better numbers than the lower end.

July fishing on Lake Chatuge is always exciting. You won’t regret booking a trip with Murphy NC and Blairsville GA’s #1 guide service, Big Ol’ Fish Guiding Service. Remember, live bait on this lake can be the difference between a successful day of fishing and a horrid one. For all of your bait and tackle needs, come visit us at Hughes General Store in Blairsville, GA–it’s the best place around for quality live blueback herring. We also carry ethanol-free gas and have some of the best hot, made-from-scratch biscuits in North GA. For guided fishing trips on Lakes Chatuge, Apalachia, Hiwassee, or Nottely, or questions about the bait shop, call me, Darren Hughes, at Hughes General Store. And whether you’re a seasoned angler or just starting out, give Chatuge a shot for some of the best spotted bass and hybrids in the area. Good luck, and get hooked!

Darren Hughes is the Owner of Hughes General Store & Bait Shop and a member of The Angler Magazine Fishing Team and Guide for Big Ol’ Fish Guiding Service. Look him up at www.bigolfish.com or give him a call, (706) 745-6569 or (828) 361-2021.